As many of you know, my domestic help Pinky, lost her baby a week after he was born. We named him John Paul after the great Pope. Pinky paid tribute to the Parish community when she said, “I carried the baby for nine months in my womb and after he was born the members of the parish of St Jude carried my baby and looked after him.” Pinky’s story reflects the Kingdom of God and the greater calling that needs to be explored and lived beyond the bells and smells of the Catholic Church.
Indeed, for ten days, the women of the Parish stood solidly in Mumbai’s Sion Hospital with not even a chair to rest. The over crowded and over worked Government run hospitals of Mumbai are ironically cruel to caregivers. Little corners of crowded staircases were all they had to rest their aching legs to say nothing of the sweltering summer heat which hovered around thirty five degrees centigrade. But they stood and watched over the baby, day in and day out.
I was told that some of our youth of St Jude’s Church, Malad East, emptied their pockets and gave of their money to say nothing of their time. Sylvia Fernandes who co-ordinates much of our youth activities, ensured that a female parishioner was always besides the child as men were not permitted in the ward. The men of the Parish like Manish Dmello helped Pinky’s husband, John, in running around to get medicines and medical reports while my staff of Jovita Mendonca, Jonny Dcruz, Shailesh Shetty and Joynel Fernandes, took turns in the hospital and co-ordinated the financial payments; all this while I was away in Australia. The Parish ran as a parish should; the laity at its helm.
Pinky’s story of faith, in the face of personal loss, has warmed many hearts. Yesterday Bishop Barthol Barretto, the Auxilllary Bishop of Bombay, who heard of her story, made an impromptu visit to the parish. He visited the site for the new structure of our ashram and Church and also visited Pinky’s home. The prayer that he led the family into, was filled with loving words of compassion and this was backed by kindness when he gave the family Rs 5,000. He then visited another home where he heard the confession of an elderly lady.
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